Crawford Stewardship Project works to protect the environment of Crawford County and neighboring regions from threats of polluting and extractive industries, to promote sustainable land use, environmental justice, and local control of natural resources

Crawford Stewardship Project is a nonprofit organization.
Donations are tax deductible.

Support CSP
Send a check to:
Crawford Stewardship Project
P.O. Box 284
Gays Mills, WI 54631


Crawford Stewardship Project is grateful for the generous support of RESIST, Inc. RESIST funds and supports grassroots groups organizing on the frontlines of the peace, economic, social, and environmental justice movements.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

"CAFOs are only profitable because so much of the cost and damage is externalized onto the environment, neighbors and wildlife. The monitoring, supervision, clean-up, restitution, fines are not happening, thus the true cost of CAFOs never find the way onto the balance books." Talking point from the CAFO Conference.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
~Aldo Leopold, 1948. A Sand County Almanac.


It has been very quiet these past several weeks but I am happy to report that we have filed a lawsuit today, Dec. 2, 2011, along with a request for a Contested Case hearing relating to the recent approval of high capacity wells, the WPDES Permit (Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System), and an environmental assessment for Richfield Dairy. Friends of the Central Sands (FOCS), along with Family Farm Defenders and several local residents and property owners, filed these documents in Dane County Circuit Court and with the DNR.

The time has now come for us to make our biggest stand yet!

As you know the DNR issued the final WPDES permit and the approval on the high capacity wells for the Richfield CAFO one month ago. While we certainly value the men and women of the DNR, these decisions were made over the concerns and questions of those of us who will be negatively affected. They were made with full knowledge and acceptance of the scientific evidence and ongoing research that Pleasant Lake will lose 2 inches of water each year and nearby streams such as the Little Roche Cri, Tagatz and Chaffee will have reduced stream flows of 5% at a pumping rate of 52.5 gallons per year. However, the permit was approved granting pumping a level 2.5 times that amount.

Ongoing research points to the fact that existing pumping in the area is already stressing coldwater streams, drying some in the headwaters areas. The new 131 million gallons per year of pumping will increase these stresses, lower the lake level by nearly 6 inches and reduce stream flows by over 10%. Half this water will be diverted from the Little Roche Cri system, 14% from Tagatz Creek, 11% from Chafee Creek, with the remaining 25% or so spread out among many other streams. We can certainly expect more headwater drying. The DNR however views these damages as being not sufficient enough to cause concern.

The spreading of waste on over 16,000 acres is also being allowed with perceived very little oversight to prevent possible harm. As an example, they are only suggesting that the soils be tested once every 4 years! We don't feel that they have adequately accounted for the level of the water table in the various fields nor explored that some of the fields may have drain tiles, preferring to assume that since the soils generally drain quickly that there are none. The drains of course would carry waste directly to nearby ditches and streams. There are numerous concerns about this waste management plan, its oversight, and the basis upon which these decisions were made. Various parts of the plan will be allowed to be modified in the future without public input.

Yes the permit requires some monitoring wells at the site of the actual dairy but there are no guidelines as to what would trigger concern nor any consequences in the event of a problem. Ask the people at Rosendale what security the monitoring wells have given them…and I think you know the answer. This doesn't even begin to address the issues of increased traffic and road deterioration, noise, and incredible air pollution, all of which are not regulated. These are simply not acceptable to the many who live in and enjoy all the benefits that the region has to offer. For a great perspective on what this CAFO will mean to our community please read this article that appeared in Oprah Magazine this month on our friend in Michigan, Lynn Henning. Pass this around to your friends and is a must read!

Your help and support have made this happen. Many of you have called or written to encourage these steps in our fight to prevent our lakes and streams from being destroyed. Thank you. But now I must ask for your help in a very big way. This next phase is a significant step. We will need volunteers to raise funds, build awareness and manage the "office" of this initiative. But what is really needed now is your donations and pledges to see us through to victory. Even small monthly donations play a large role in supporting this challenge. Please visit and donate today. Share this with your neighbors and friends asking them to help as well. If you would like to pledge support over time that would be wonderful. If the decision to issue these approvals is disturbing to you then we need your help. Drop me a note to let me know that you too are willing to support this fight.

But above all, don't be silent on this issue. The time to stand up is now. The time to be heard is now. The time to show others what is important is now. The time to protect you property value and your way of life is now. We will be successful, we will prevail…but we need your help and support.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Bob Clarke

Friends of the Central Sands
PO Box 156
145 North Front Street
Coloma, WI 54930